banner

1024px-Kanamachi-water_purification_plant
780 Views

Blend of technology and the African sun to solve water purification problems


Take an African scientist and an African engineer and ask them to find a solution to water-borne problems that impact on 783 million people, and cause 443 million ‘lost school days a year’ due to disease. Chances are that they will come up with a solution to provide Africans with safe, healthy drinking water.

For Dr Lloyd Muzangwa, a Zimbabwean scientist, and his friend George Kahabuka, a Tanzanian engineer, knowledge is something that has to be shared with others.

“Life does not measure you on the basis of your credentials, but on the results you deliver,” they explain. This philosophy formed the basis of their entry into the recent Standard Bank Water 4 Africa challenge. Dr Muzangwa’s and Kahabuka’s submission was announced as the winner of the ‘Mid-stage’ (tested solutions, ready for first deployment) category of the competition, which saw them walking away with a prize of US$5,000 for the development of their MAJI 1200 water purification system.

The category was one of three that saw inventors from around the globe competing for the honours for their innovative work in developing water solutions that could be implemented across the African continent.

Winners in other categories were:

·         Late stage (deployed solutions, ready for scale) – a single prize of US$10,000, which was awarded to the inventor of the SpaTap in Australia.

·         Early stage (new and promising concepts) – which saw three prizes of US$2,000 each being awarded to inventors Joel Mukanga of Uganda, Felix Manyogote of Tanzania, and James Murphy of South Africa.

Applying their minds and scientific and engineering skills, gleaned in Africa as well as with major US and European high tech companies, the inventors of the MAJI 1200 saw it as their duty to use their abilities to benefit Africa’s people.

Their prize money will go towards the construction of MAJI 1200 units that will be donated to schools in far-flung areas of rural Zimbabwe. Bringing together the natural energy of the African sun and trends in modern water purification practice, the MAJI 1200 promises to bring first-world science and engineering knowledge about potable water to African water treatment, explains the 28-year-old Dr Muzangwa.

He adds that he spent his childhood in rural Zimbabwe, but now spends his time as a researcher in the areas of chemistry, physics, astro-chemistry and astro-biology.

“The MAJI 1200 system uses innovative ultraviolet (UV) light technology and solar energy to purify water, using technology that is becoming acceptable to public and regulatory agencies for use as an alternative disinfectant.”

“When municipalities install UV systems, the water supply is protected from chlorine-resistant micro-organisms. UV disinfection can also be used as a virus-barrier against Adenovirus – a major cause of respiratory problems and diarrhea – in a multi-barrier strategy to provide confidence in water supply.”

“While chemical disinfectants destroy or damage a microbe’s cellular structure, UV light inactivates microbes by damaging their DNA, thereby preventing the microbe’s ability to replicate (or infect the host). UV light does not impart tastes or odours to water as chlorine does, and does not form harmful disinfection by-products, or increase bacterial regrowth in distribution systems.”

“The MAJI 1200 can be used as a mobile or fixed water disinfection system. It can help communities in rural areas since it is solar powered, is relatively affordable to construct, and delivers high volumes of water. It is basically a maintenance-free system in which only the lamp and filter require replacement.”

Looking to the future of the system, Dr Muzangwa says that funding is required to set up an installation plant in Africa. A positive spin-off of this could be job opportunities with each installation being tended to and operated by people trained in its use.

With the present cost running at approximately US$2,000 per unit, funding to scale up production and conduct further research would be a bonus. To this end, active lobbying for donors, sponsors, NGOs, and governments is underway.

In the meantime, the MAJI 1200 inventors aren’t resting on their laurels. They are developing other systems that use generators and electricity as well as smaller purification systems.

“The MAJI 1200 is undoubtedly a most exciting project from Africa to emerge from the Water 4 Africa challenge. It is already attracting interest in Zimbabwe and Tanzania and has the potential to open access to healthy water for millions of Africans,” says Jayshree Naidoo, Innovation Thought Leader at Standard Bank.

“It is exactly the type of innovative contribution we were seeking when we sponsored Water 4 Africa, and sought global input in major areas of water conservation. These ranged from ensuring the sustainability of groundwater resources, sanitation, and purification of water including solar, through to filtration of water, as well as innovative solutions to promote wise water use.

“Harnessing the internet ensured that inventors and social entrepreneurs from across the globe could take part in helping solve a significant African problem. By using ‘crowd sourcing’, a powerful tool to gather innovative ideas and identify practical solutions to address the water issues, we ensured that collaboration around water saving projects could take place, regardless of geographical boundaries.”

“It was particularly encouraging to see that of the five winners announced across categories, four are from the African continent. It is great to see that Africans from all walks of life are involved in their communities and are intent on spending their time and talents to benefit others,” concludes Naidoo.

Source: cbn


Attend the Water Resource Seminar in June | Book your seat here


 

Follow Alive2Green on Social Media

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

Recently Published

401748
»

#CSIMonth: Why having an authentic approach to your CSI initiatives is key to sustainable growth

It’s a bad idea, as part of your CSR strategy, to pose with a ...

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 3.01.47 PM
»

Biodegradable plastic bags developed in SA

South Africans will soon be able to dispose of their plastic bags ...

coke
»

If you care so much, Coke, why aren’t your bottles 100% recycled?

Coca-Cola sells more than 100bn single-use plastic bottles a year. ...

Pam
»

Pam Golding’s new alliance will provide global property assets, plus dual residence

Estate agent Pam Golding Properties (PGP) has partnered with global ...

goin green4
»

Carpooling proves ‘excellent’ match for Cape Town’s traffic congestion

South African carpooling app, uGoMyWay today released the results of ...

roof infrastructure
»

Engineers find way to evaluate green roofs

Green infrastructure is an attractive concept, but there is concern ...

goin green
»

An invitation to attend the 5th Going Green Conference in Durban, 13th to the 15th September 2017

It is with great pleasure and honour to extend a warm invitation for ...

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 3.23.15 PM
»

Green protest against Wakkerstroom mine

The centre said the organisations would, if necessary, take the ...

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 2.46.32 PM
»

Mall of Africa named winning retail development at Sapoa Excellence Awards

Mall of Africa scoops an award at the South African Property Owners ...